folk music | WAMC

folk music

Arlo Guthrie and Alan Chartock.
WAMC

Some of the most hard hit folks in this pandemic are those in the arts. Theaters, concert halls, and many cultural offerings are suffering great financial hardship without an audience to attend in person. That also goes for the Guthrie Center in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

The Guthrie Center at the Old Trinity Church was founded by Arlo Guthrie to honor the legacy of his parents, Woody Guthrie and Marjorie Mazia-Guthrie. The Guthrie Center seeks to cultivate cultural preservation, promote educational achievement and foster community outreach to meet the ongoing needs of the community. However, since the pandemic began, the Guthrie Center has struggled to keep up financially.

      Shawn Stone joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Seen: "Downton Abbey"

Upcoming:

  • "Moby Dick," performed by Conor Lovett - Hudson Hall, Hudson, Friday 10/4 at 7 PM; Saturday 10/5 at 7 PM; Sunday 10/6 at 5 PM
  • Paula Poundstone - Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Friday 10/4, 8 PM
  • Artie Lange - Cohoes Music Hall, Cohoes, Friday 10/4, 8 PM
  • James Franco’s "The Pretenders" - Palace Theatre, Albany, Saturday 10/5, 7 PM
  • GWAR "Use Your Collusion" Tour - Upstate Concert Hall, Clifton Park, Saturday 10/5, 7:30 PM
  • Kurt Elling - Academy of Music, Northampton, Mass., Saturday 10/5, 7:30 PM - The Egg, Albany, Sunday 10/6, 7:30 PM
  • Laura Love - The Eighth Step at Proctors, Schenectady, Saturday 10/5, 7:30 PM - Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, Mass., Sunday 10/6, 7 PM
  • Kimbra, Emily Wells - MASS MoCA, Hunter Center, North Adams, Mass., Saturday 10/5, 8 PM
  • Sergei Babayan & Daniil Trifonov, duo piano - Troy Chromatics Concerts, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Sunday 10/6, 3 PM

New movies: "Joker," "Britt-Marie Was Here"

Aoife O’Donovan is the inaugural FreshGrass Artist in Residence at the FreshGrass Music Festival taking place, as it always does, at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts.

She’ll perform a set of her own music on Friday, September 20, join Kronos Quartet’s Music for Change: Pete Seeger @ 100 set on Saturday, September 21, and re-visit her Fresh Score on Sunday, September 22.

O’Donovan is an acclaimed songwriter and vocalist known for her solo work, touring and recording with her band Crooked Still, frequent appearances on American Public Media’s “Live from Here” with Chris Thile, and her work with Sara Watkins and Sarah Jarosz, I’m With Her - the trio, just this week, was recognized as the Group of the Year at the Americana Honors & Awards.

Crooked Still will play The Egg in Albany, New York on December 11.

The great Pete Seeger would have been 100 years old tomorrow, were we lucky enough to still have him with us. WAMC is hosting a celebration of Pete with folk musician Happy Traum. The concert will be at The Linda – WAMC’s Performing Arts Studio in Albany, New York tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. Happy will perform songs he learned from Pete - traditional folk ballads, songs of love and protest, and some of Pete’s iconic compositions.

Tickets are available for a $100 pledge to WAMC and the event proceeds will support WAMC's June Locked Box.

Two anonymous donors have made up to 15 tickets available for those who can't afford the pledge. Please call 800 323 9262 to claim one of those tickets while supplies last. 

The Capital Region is filled with opportunities for people to attend community dances. Community dancing generally has a variety of dances and formations during an evening: Circles, squares, longways (the roots of contras), snaky lines, scattered formations, couples dances (waltzes and occasional others), and international folk dances.

The typical community dance emphasizes dancing in which people enjoy moving to great live music as a community. Everyone is welcome, no matter how fast or slow moving they might be, and no matter what their age.

Monthly dances include Albany Shindig at First Congregational Church on Quail Street in Albany, New York and Old Songs Community Barn Dance in the Old Songs Community Arts Building on South Main Street in Voorheesville, New York.

DanceFlurry founder and dance caller Paul Rosenberg and folk musician Sue Mead join us to tell us more about community dancing in our region.

Lucy Kaplansky and album cover for "Everyday Street"
Photo of Lucy Kaplansky by Beowulf Sheehan

Last September folk singer-songwriter Lucy Kaplansky released “Everyday Street” - an album of new original songs, re-worked versions of her songs, and covers. Her first solo album in six years, “Everyday Street” is an intimate collection of tunes which share a picture of life, loss, and assorted types of love - romantic, friendship, and even pet-centric.

Lucy will play Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs on March 15.

Shawn Stone joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Seen: "Mary Queen of Scots"

Upcoming:

  • Taarka - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Thursday 1/3, 7 PM
  • Enter the Haggis, Skerryvore - The Egg, Albany, Friday 1/4, 7:30 PM
  • "Saboteur" - Capitol Arts Complex, Rome, Friday 1/4 at 4 and 7 PM, through Jan. 10
  • Cheryl Wheeler - Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, Mass., Friday-Saturday, 1/4-5 at 7 PM
  • Suede - The Eighth Step, Underground at Proctors, Saturday 1/5, 7:30 PM
  • Elvis Birthday Bash with Johnny Raab’s Big Band, The Tichy Boys and more - The Hangar on the Hudson, Troy, Saturday 1/5, 8 PM
  • Albany Symphony Orchestra: Beethoven’s Seventh; with Tessa Lark, violin - Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7; Michael Torke’s Violin Concerto (premiere); Steven Stucky’s Chamber Concerto - Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Saturday 1/5, 7:30 PM; Sunday 1/6, 3 PM
  • David Finckel, cello & Wu Han, piano - music of Beethoven, Brahms and Mendelssohn - Union College Concert Series, Memorial Chapel, Schenectady, Sunday 1/6, 3 PM

The Eighth Step presents global activist, singer, teacher and recording artist Holly Near tonight at Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, New York. 

In 1970, Holly Near was a cast member of the Broadway musical “Hair.” Following the Kent State University shootings in May of that same year the entire cast staged a silent vigil in protest. The song, “It Could’ve Been Me” was Holly’s heartfelt response to the shootings. Before and since the 1970s, Near has been consistent and outspoken in her desire for a more equitable world - her activism most often taking the form of music.

Jacqueline Schwab
www.jacquelineschwab.com

On Thursday, September 20 the Guilderland Public Library in Guilderland, New York will present the concert “I Lift My Lamp: Vintage Songs and Dances of Immigrant America” performed by Ken Burns’ pianist Jacqueline Schwab. The concert begins at 7 p.m. Calling ahead for reservations is advised - (518) 456-2400.

Jacqueline Schwab is noted for her evocative playing on the soundtracks of documentary filmmaker Ken Burns’ “Civil War,” “Baseball,” “Mark Twain,” “Frank Lloyd Wright,” “The War” and others. She has long played for English country dancing with the Bare Necessities quartet; has released four solo recordings; and has performed concerts of vintage American music in almost every state of the Union.

Double Diamond / https://www.facebook.com/doublediamond99/

While this weekend’s Fresh Grass festival at MASS MoCA features acts from around the world, it also shines a light on the Berkshire music scene.

The Guthrie Family is producing a new series at the Guthrie Center. The Talkin’ Series will feature a line-up of folks who will join them for 4 Wednesday’s in August. In addition to the music, they will have discussion with special guests and Q&A opportunities from the audience with Arlo Guthrie as the host!

Arlo’s daughter, Sarah Lee Guthrie will be on one on the panels and helped put this all together and she joins us.

Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival celebrates its 40th Anniversary this year. Revival is the country’s oldest and largest music and environmental festival, bringing together major musical acts and Clearwater’s own brand of green activism for a unique weekend every June. Clearwater Festival 2018, which takes place on June 16 and 17, on the banks of the Hudson River at beautiful Croton Point Park, Croton-On-Hudson, NY has an amazing line-up.

A number of Clearwater’s favorite artists will be returning this year including: The Mavericks, Ani DiFranco, Tom Paxton & The DonJuans, Tom Chapin, The Mammals (featuring Mike + Ruthy), Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, Dan Zanes, The Nields, The Kennedys and Dance Troupe The Vanaver Caravan. Artists the Festival will welcome for the first time this year include: Jeff Tweedy, They Might Be Giants, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Rhiannon Giddens and bluegrass greats Hot Rize.

To tell us more we welcome Judith Enck and Betsy Garthwaite - President of Hudson River Sloop Clearwater's Board of Directors.

Mary Gauthier headshot
Mary Gauthier

When we last spoke with the musician Mary Gauthier a year ago, she was engaged in a sprawling new project — taking the words of America’s war veterans and making songs out of them. The raw lyrics and personal reflections form the backbone of Gauthier’s new album, her 10th: "Rifles and Rosary Beads." authier will be taking the songs and more from her terrific catalog on the road in the coming weeks, including several dates in our listening area.

Roger McGuinn
John Chiasson

(Airs 2/08/18) WAMC’s Alan Chartock In A 2012 Conversation with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, folk musician and former member of The Byrds, Roger McGuinn.

Beowulf Sheehan


  Lucy Kaplansky, Richard Shindell and Dar Williams have revived their celebrated folk-pop collaboration - Cry Cry Cry - for their first performances in nineteen years. Cry Cry Cry’s 1998 album was a collection of 12 mostly cover songs and was a sort of tribute to fellow singer-songwriters. Their tour will bring them to The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on October 27th.

Loudon Wainwright III, the son of esteemed Life magazine columnist Loudon Wainwright, Jr., is the patriarch of one of America’s great musical families. He is the former husband of Kate McGarrigle and Suzzy Roche, and father of Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright, Lucy Wainwright Roche, and Lexie Kelly Wainwright. With a career spanning more than four decades, Wainwright has established himself as one of the most enduring singer-songwriters who emerged from the late 1960s. Not only does he perform regularly across America and in Europe, but he is a sought-after actor, having appeared in many movies and TV series.

There is probably no singer-songwriter who has so blatantly inserted himself into his songs. The songs can be laugh-out-loud funny, but they also can cut to the bone. In this memoir, Wainwright details the family history his lyrics have referenced and the fractured relationships among generations: the alcoholism, the infidelities, the competitiveness—as well as the closeness, the successes, and the joy. Wainwright reflects on the experiences that have influenced his work, including boarding school, the music business, swimming, macrobiotics, sex, incarceration, and something he calls Sir Walter Raleigh Syndrome.

Loudon Wainwright III's new book is titled Liner Notes: On Parents & Children, Exes & Excess, Death & Decay, & A Few Of My Other Favorite Things.

Brandi Carlile
Pete Souza

Brandi Carlile and her band are playing The FreshGrass Festival at MASS MoCA this Saturday.

For more than a decade, the big-voiced roots-rocker has shared the road with twin brothers Phil and Tim Hanseroth. Renowned for their high-energy live-show, their 2015 album, The Firewatcher’s Daughter is a collection of building and boiling songs full of nothing more or less than a whole lot of heart.

 

Brandi's most recent release I mentioned is Cover Stories: Brandi Carlile Celebrates 10 Years of The Story – An Album to Benefit War Child. The Story is Carlile’s 2007 album - produced by T-Bone Burnett and featuring a resonant group of songs that earned the record Gold Status early this year -- 10  years after it’s release. Cover Stories features all new recordings of those songs by artists like Adele, Indigo Girls, Jim James, Kris Kristoffersen, Dolly Parton and Pearl Jam. The album features a forward by President Barack Obama and all proceeds from its sales go to benefit War Child UK.


  The folk and son mexicano band David Wax Museum is currently on a tour that marks their 1000th show and their 10th anniversary. To mark the occasion, they’ve  released Electric Artifacts, an album of outtakes and rarities.

The duo of David Wax and Suz Slezak will be joined by their full band with a horn section for a show this Sunday at 7 p.m. at Caff​è Lena in Saratoga Springs, NY.

David Wax joins us.

The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow are a collaborative of five Massachusetts-based singer-songwriters. As individuals they have released a total of 18 albums; their live record The Heart of the Run is their first as a band. This coming Friday they will release a new EP and perform at MASS MoCA’s FreshGrass Festival.

Billy Keane joins us.

FreshGrass At MASS MoCA

Sep 11, 2017

It’s safe to say it’s been a big summer for our friends at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA. They opened a new building of gallery space in May, hosted the Solid Sound festival in June and numerous other live events throughout the summer, broke attendance records, and presented groundbreaking and globally recognized contemporary art.

Never one to rest on their laurels, MASS MoCA will present the 7th Annual FreshGrass Festival this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Sept 15-17.

FreshGrass is a family-friendly festival, brimming with bright talent on four stages, and also in MASS MoCA’s galleries, brick-lined courtyards, and grassy field. The festival is produced in partnership by MASS MoCA, the FreshGrass Foundation, and No Depression.

This year’s festival features Brandi Carlile, Railroad Earth, The Del McCoury Band, The Wood Brothers, Del and Dog, The Suitecase Junket, Crooked Still, and many more artists – along with awards, workshops, tributes, FreshScores, and more!

Here to tell us all about it are Joe Thompson, Director of MASS MoCA and Jodi Joseph, the museum’s Director of Communications.

The Suitcase Junket
Jo Chattman

Clearwater's Great Hudson River Revival is taking place this coming weekend at Croton Point Park in Croton-on-Hudson, New York. This year’s festival will include performances by Nick Lowe, Arlo Guthrie, Los Lobos, Toshi Reagon & Big Lovely, Josh Ritter, Joan Osborne and many other great acts -- including our guest, The Suitcase Junket.

Western-Massachusetts based one-man-band Matt Lorenz creates music on restored, salvaged, and fully invented instruments created from old instruments and found objects. His latest album, Pile Driver, came out in April on Signature Sounds. 

Bobby Sweet at The Linda
Sarah LaDuke

Bobby Sweet is a sixth-generation musician. He began performing at age 7 in his father’s band and has shared the bill with many top country and folk artists, including Martin Sexton, Arlo Guthrie, and Pete Seeger.

Bobby’s new album, All These Changes, will be released on June 11th.  The Colonial Theater in Pittsfield, MA will host the CD Release concert that night at 7 p.m.  And Bobby will be appearing with the BSweet Band.

Bobby Sweet joins us at The Linda to share some new songs and talk a little. 

Mary Gauthier
Jack Spencer

It’s always a treat to catch up with musician Mary Gauthier, beloved by fans of country, folk and Americana music alike for her honest and poignant music and lyrics. Gauthier did a lot of hard living before embarking on a music career relatively late in life. She will be back in our region for a string of dates this spring.

  In W. B. Belcher's debut novel, Lay Down You’re Weary Tune, a ghostwriter of the memoirs of a reclusive folk music icon attempts to glean fact from fiction, only to discover the deeper he digs into the musician’s past, the more his own past rises to the surface

Despite his fame, Eli Page is a riddle wrapped in a myth, inside decades of mask-making. His past is so shrouded in gossip and half-truths that no one knows who he is behind the act. Jack Wyeth, a budding writer, joins Eli in Galesville, a small town on the border of New York and Vermont, only to learn that the musician’s mind is failing.

As he scrambles to uncover the truth, Jack is forced to confront his own past, his own hang-ups, and his own fears. At the same time, he falls for a local artist who has secrets of her own, he becomes linked to a town controversy, and he struggles to let go of his childhood idols and bridge the divide between myth and reality.

  Blessed with what the New York Times described as a “beautiful countertenor,” Grammy winner and pop-folk icon Art Garfunkel has made an indelible mark on the music world as both a solo artist and half of the unrivaled Simon & Garfunkel. He has also enjoyed a successful film career, published a book of poetry and released 12 original solo albums.

Art Garfunkel will perform at The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, MA on November 14th*.

*This concert is sold out. 

  Bright As You Can, the rocking new album from The Mike + Ruthy Band, celebrates the grit and glory of kinship with 14 road-tested tunes of radio-ready acoustic pop, broody rock, country soul, and boot-stomping porch folk. As with previous Mike + Ruthy endeavors, the rootsy material covers much ground, but the through-line remains family.

In May, 2014, Mike + Ruthy decided to make a high octane record, comprised of songs they could tour with a band. Guests on the record include Ruthy’s father, Jay Ungar, Amy Helm (Levon Helm’s daughter), and ace keyboardist Marco Benevento, all adding texture, intensity, and family love.

This Saturday, The Mike + Ruthy Band will play an album release party at The Bearsville Theatre in Woodstock, NY.

  Berkshire based folk duo, Oakes and Smith, will play a concert this Saturday, May 30th at 4 p.m. at Ashintully Gardens in Tyringham, MA as a benefit for the Trustees of Reservations. Pianist, Zack Cross will join the duo.

Robert Oakes and Katherine Smith’s debut album, First Flight was mixed by Grammy-winning engineer Oz Fritz and released in November 2013.

  Brandi Carlile is playing the Palace Theatre in Albany on May 23rd. Her indie debut with longtime collaborators, The Hanseroth twins, The Firewatcher’s Daughter was released March 3rd on ATO Records.

It debuted in the Top 10 on the Billboard 200, NPR Fresh Air deemed it “her best yet," and it garnered raves from the NY Times, LA Times, Billboard, and more.

Here we share portions of a number of songs from the album and speak with Brandi about songwriting, touring, the Looking Out Foundation, and meeting the President.

  Signature Sounds' first CD came out in 1995 and the lable has seen over 150 releases since then, moving into show promoting, opening a venue in Northampton, MA, overseeing frequent collaborations between its artists, and taking over the long-running music and hot air ballooning gathering of the Green River Festival.

Earlier this Spring they released “Signature Sounds 20th Anniversary Collection: Rarities from The Second Decade” - an album of previously unreleased songs from Signature Sounds artists - a mix-tape lovingly prepared for you by the label. Jim Olsen is the President of Signature Sounds and he joins us to talk about the label's history and future.

  This Friday at 8pm, Michael Eck will be at The Linda – WAMC’s Performing Arts Studio – performing a personal Woody Guthrie tribute to celebrate the 75th Anniverary of Guthrie’s iconic song – “This Land is Your Land.”

Roots scholar and multi-instrumentalist Michael Eck (host and curator of The Linda's American Roots Series) will play "This Land is Your Land" and other Woody Guthrie favorites, with an emphasis on material from his New York period.

Michael joins us with a preview.

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